Thursday, December 9, 2010

Arnold double feature

Commando (1985) * * * *

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells,David Patrick Kelly, Bill Duke, Alyssa Milano
Directed by Mark L. Lester

Schwarzenegger declares war and kills everyone who practically moves in his quest to destroy an ousted dictator who kidnapped his daughter, and to get revenge on his friend Bennett (Wells) who betrayed him, while trying to get there in time to save his daughter with the help of a Flight Attendant (Pilot in training) All you really need to know is that Schwarzenegger flexes his muscles, shoots at least 500 people and then when he runs out of bullets uses pitchforks, machetes and a skillsaw blades to scalp, amputate and slaughter anonymous bad guys without blinking. In other words this is classic Schwarzenegger brought to us from the same guy who gave us the equally excellent Class Of 1984. The anything goes finale is basically the highlight but there is much to enjoy such as when Schwarzenegger actually rips out a phonebooth with a bad guy in it and then chuck it over his shoulder, or the way Schwarzenegger gets hit by a car and yet keeps going (Making this the second movie in a row where Schwarzenegger was hit by a car) The best part of Commando is simply the fact that it is nothing more than just a turkey shoot and really you can’t go wrong with that. While Rambo:First Blood Part II was the more popular of the two, this one was the more fun of the two, but why not make time for both? If anything else this is what led to the greatness of 80s Action and you really can’t go wrong with Commando. Indeed Lester’s subsequent efforts Class Of 1999, Showdown In Little Tokyo and Night Of The Running Man while not as good as results of this and Class Of 1984, are still well worth seeing.

Total Recall (1990) * * *1/2

Cast:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Sharon Stone

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Schwarzenegger stars as Quaid, a seemingly everyday construction worker plagued by nightmares of Mars, despite the reluctance of his wife (Stone) Quaid gets an artifical vacation but ends up awakening the past and remembers he was a secret agent while all of a sudden everyone is trying to kill him and now Quaid has to somehow overthrow Cohaagen (Cox) and his first lieutenant Richter (Ironside) Total Recall is a good action movie, but it’s a classic for Science Fiction. The best element is that Verhoeven films the action without let up but he also takes the time to add novel touches like the Johnny Cab, The whole idea of Artificial vacations and how Verhoeven toys with whether Schwarzenegger is dreaming or not, then things get truly even more mind bending when we learn of mutants and an reactor that will save everyone Mars (as you have to buy air) Total Recall is a smart and intriguing story wrapped up in action spectacle, indeed if there is a flaw it could be that the film doesn’t develop the elements as much as you would like. For instance Schwarzenegger’s past is not really explained and the whole twists and turns sometimes provide plot holes, such as why Schwarzenegger would get that much help from double agents or for that matter what the rebels do to well, rebel. The best element is that Total Recall gets wilder and crazier with every minute, as to create a surreal movie, Indeed the film though feels like an acid trip but that adds to the fun factor and Total Recall still holds up well twenty years later and remains one of Schwarzenegger’s all time best.


  1. Another great double feature combo. Commando is to my mine one of the all time best action films. It was on TV about a month ago, and I was visiting my buddy and we found it flipping channels-- he was waiting for his wife to get out of the bathroom so he could go, and then he was going to give me a lift home-- needless to say, we ended up sitting there through the rest of it. It's just that good and that iconic.

    Total Recall is almost as great. Paul Verhoeven is amazing, and to throw in Ronny Cox again as the head baddie. Another great fun time. There was a time when action movies were so much fun, and this is an excellent double feature to celebrate that era.

  2. Commando is my favorite Arnold flick. It's possibly my favorite 80's action flick too. You can't beat the combination of Arnold, the supporting cast, and the one-liners. It's the perfect pure action movie.

    Total Recall is almost as good. I can't really fault the plot holes really because I always saw the (potential spoiler al... oh wait if anyone who's reading this hasn't seen Total Recall, shame on you...) ending as one of those "It was all a dream", or in this case "It was all a memory implanted vacation" deals. To me, everything from the memory implant scene on is one big dream, so it makes sense there would be a couple gaffes here and there.

    Anyone ever play the Total Recall Nintendo game? God did that ever suck...